time I install some new software I am asked to sign to agree to the software
licence for that product. To do this, I click on the box that says “I Agree”. If
you have read that last sentence carefully you may be thinking that clicking a
box is not ‘signing’ a document. Surely there needs to be some process that
mimics a physical signature on a piece of paper?
all! Most countries now have some sort of legislation that recognises business
will be transacted electronically. In Australia and New Zealand this is the Electronic
Transactions Act. The legislation
lays down the requirements for valid e-signatures. These include being able to
demonstrate the identity of the signer and demonstrating their intent. The
other test is that the method used to sign the document is “as reliable as
appropriate for the purpose”.
is no need for any process that looks like a traditional signature. So, a tick
box is a legal signature. With your software licence there is no option to do
anything but agree to the standard document. For this case, a tick box is
likely to be as reliable as appropriate for the purpose.
these absolutely standardised documents, the trick is knowing what you are
Western Australian courts recently found that a series of email messages
constituted a legally binding contract. No tick box in sight, just the send
button - repeatedly. Of course it took a court case or two, and who knows how
much money to get an understanding that there was a contract and what was
avoid this complication in your life there is a better alternative. Signing
electronic documents online using a PKI based digital
signature gives everybody a crystal clear understanding of who is agreeing
digitally signed electronic document is better than a tick box, or a simple
electronic signature, in two important ways.
first is that the signature is tied to the document content. If anything
changes in the document, the signature is no longer valid. This is usually
checked every time the document is opened. The second is that the digital
signature creates an irrevocable link between the signer and the document. The
signature cannot be forged nor copied to another document.
these ways, the PKI based digital signature is as reliable as appropriate for
any circumstance. If it’s important enough to sign, then anything other than a
true digital signature isn’t good enough.
Signing allows you to sign, or invite someone to sign, your document or form
with a personal PKI digital signature for the price of a stamp. Register for a
free account and securely sign your first electronic document now.